Milling school offers advanced training in Southern Africa

by Teresa Acklin
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   The Tiger Milling Training Center, Blo-emfontein, South Africa, was the first facility in southern Africa dedicated to the training of millers. Established in the 1980s, the center's wide-ranging curricula include a three-year program for apprentices, courses for experienced millers and overviews of technical milling for non-technical mill management.

   Tiger Milling and Feeds Ltd., one of South Africa's oldest maize and wheat milling companies, founded the school to provide comprehensive training in maize and wheat milling. Students include the company's own millers, as well as trainees from South Africa and other African countries.

   “Great interest has been expressed in our courses from milling companies throughout Africa,” said Rob Harpur, human resources manager for Tiger Milling. “Some of the millers trained at the center now are operating the most technologically advanced mills in the world.”

   The training center features state of the art equipment and facilities, including a fully functional mill that can be converted into either a 3-tonne-per-hour degerminated maize plant or a 1.5-tph wheat flour mill. The center also includes a cereals laboratory and test baking facility and is staffed by professional millers trained in Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

   In the first two years of the three-year apprentice program, coursework centers on maize milling and machine technology. The third year focuses on flour milling technology and laboratory techniques.

   In addition to hands-on milling training, the center offers academic courses through its link with the Bloemfontein Technical College. Course subjects include engineering science, mathematics and industrial electronics.

   The center also provides special training in fumigation, personal computer systems and process control, grain grading and pelleting technology.

   Advanced training courses for experienced millers also are offered and cover maize and flour technology, machine technology and laboratory techniques. Course length runs from four to six weeks, depending on the course.

   The training programs are designed to meet stringent international standards. After completion of training, students qualify to take the formal trade test of the Grain Milling Federation of South Africa or the City and Guilds of London Advanced Certificate examination.

   Diane Montague owned and edited the U.K.'s leading agribusiness trade weekly, Agricultural Supply Industry, for 22 years. She sold ASI two years ago and now concentrates on freelance writing and consulting.